I've been reading articles and forum posts here for a while and I've gotten enough information to ask a few questions as I try to build my adult wardrobe. I think you''ll be able to answer my questions better if you know a little about my situation.
I'm 35 years old and I work as a medical professional in a local hospital. I'm required to wear scrubs to work, and i RARELY go to any sort of meeting or company function. I only work two days a week, so the rest of the week I can dress however I want. I technically have a 5-day weekend every week.
I live in Texas where we have mild winters and long, hot summers.
I attend church on Sunday mornings. The pastor and gentlemen who lead the music and such dress very well, but not formally. The most I see is dress shirts, slacks and sweaters, occasional sport coats among the other attendees and a rare suit.
Once or twice a year I may attend a wedding or other event that would call for a suit.
I come from a poor/blue collar background and no longer have contact with my father. I never learned the rules of how to dress well.
My goal is simply to piece together a wardrobe of well-coordinated items that will make me look more "put together" and dispel the stereotype that men don't know how to dress.
Nobody I know has a clue how to dress. I do not work with, or associate with executives or bankers who would be able to spot the difference between a Men's Wearhouse suit and a Brooks Brothers suit. In my career, wearing a suit even to a job interview is awkwardly over-dressed. Scrub attire is the norm.
What I currently own:
A three-button navy wool suit from Men's Wearhouse that I purchased 8 years ago for my graduation and have only worn once because I'm not sure of the versatility of a three-button suit. It still has the plastic buttons on the jacket which I learned I'll soon need to replace.
A brown corduroy sport jacket, a black blazer, a textured dark tan blazer, and a synthetic "linen look" suit. All purchased from JC Penny.
Assorted dress shirts, cotton khaki pants, solid grey slacks, navy and tan synthetic slacks (Hagar)
A few ties. (Rarely worn)
Black, brown, and cordovan dress shoes with matching leather belts.
What I understand I'll need:
A navy two-button blazer
A medium grey wool suit.
Better quality dress shirts and slacks.
One or two odd sport jackets to coordinate with above.
Some light-weight v-neck sweaters.
How much of what I have just needs to be thrown out?
What is wrong with synthetic material? I understand wool looks better on a person, but wool pants are itchy and too warm for 80-degree weather and warmer. It's just not practical.
High quality synthetic pants will last longer, right?
Do I need to purchase another navy suit? One with two buttons instead of three?
Can I use the jacket from the suit I have as a blazer with odd pants?
Are my cheap synthetic sport coats worth tailoring?
How do I decide what colors and patterns are good to wear together? Navy pants with a brown jacket? Black jacket with navy pants? Navy jacket with black pants?
What are the rules that I MUST NOT break?
I see all the conversations about BB 1818 suits being the quintessential entry-level suit and I totally understand why. But spending a grand on a suit I'm only going to wear once or twice a year is not justifiable to me at this point. Is there REALLY anything WRONG with getting a JAB Signature Gold suit on sale and treating/storing it well so it lasts a few years?
Thank you for taking the time to read my post and answer my questions. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
1. No, no, no synthetics. You live in a warm-hot climate so why would you want to wrap yourself in plastic wrap? I've found that synthetics don't allow perspiration to evaporate, which is the way your body cools itself. Not only that I don't think they look as nice as natural fibers.
2. Wool pants can be summer-weight and Merino wool is not itchy. Then again think linen, which is natural and breathes more easily than most materials. You need to be able to care for them as they wrinkle easily.
3. There are sites that can help with the mixing and matching, although I don't know what they are. For me a blue blazer goes with black, blue, tan, or grey pants. The dark brown blazer with the browns, greens, and tan pants. A grey blazer with black, blue, tan, or grey pants. I tend to go with lighter pants with a darker blazer. Also, you may look into a silk blazer for your wardrobe.
Natural fibres work in every climate. I think you can get different thickness depending on your needs (I wish Leo was still around. He knew all this stuff). As Rick said, synthetic is like wrapping yourself in plastic. Not exactly a wise move in a hot climate.
I don't see why you need any of your suits. I'm also a medical professional and get by fine with a blue suit (off the rack) I wear for interviews, conferences, etc. and a brown suit I had made-to-measure for my wedding. It fits me like a glove and I love it although how much use I get for it is probably quite limited (at least I looked good in the wedding photos).
Also not sure why BB is the end all be all. My blue suit was off the rack because I needed it at short notice and have been too poor to replace it (also it still does the trick). Unless you have some freakish dimensions (in which off the rack is completely out of the question anyway), I'd go with made-to-measure suit. Something timeless (ie not trendy) in dark blue or grey (get two parts of pants too while you are at it).
As for cost, a good M-T-M suit should cost you more than a grand and by the sounds of it you already spent that on all those jackets that you'll never use.